Sunday 10 April 2016

Post HM55 - let the dust settle...

Now I've had a few days to think about it, the rose tinted specs have been donned and I feel much better about the whole thing.

Still have stuff to work on.
Still bricking myself over the HM110.

But, I feel ready to get stuck into the next part of my training. Got some heavy weights and hill reps lined up, along with a couple more 25-30 mile runs.

I've maintained my streak, having run every day since the ultra. (Bearing in mind those runs have been around a mile and very slow and creaky!!) but each one gets easier.
And Tuesday I had an epic stretching session with my PT John. We spent 45 mins just stretching, doing mobility stuff, foam rolling and to finish off, he stretched me. In all, it was more painful than running the 55!! BUT I regained the use of my ankle and the run home felt sooooo much better than the shuffle down to the studio. My legs feel great.

The weights we are doing must have helped as the muscles in my hips are usually one of the first things to start aching on long runs, especially if the terrain is flatish, on Saturday they only started to hurt a couple of miles from the finish. Big improvement.


Hardmoors 55 - Round 2

I have been PT-ing and weight lift-ing and long runn-ing over the last couple of weeks in preperation for the Hardmoors 55, another step in the lead up to the Big One (HM110) in a few short weeks time.
I'd had a week of (almost) rest and felt pretty much ready to take the race on. Although the night before I was so stressed out about the whole thing I gave myself a headache! Rubbish sleep as expected.

My pals Pete and Jen picked me up as planned and we made it to Helmsley before the buses arrived to get our kit checks done and registered. We had a long wait after that, so had second breakfast of tea and banana's and sat in the car to keep warm! Met Gromit while waiting and said hi to lots of other Fetchies and non-Fetch running friends.

I have to say, I was very nervous.

Jon the RD gave his usual race brief, rambling on like he does and then it was time to go!

The first few miles felt easy, couple of gates to negotiate slowed everyone down. I had turned the satellites off on my Garmin so was surprised to find it still registering miles and pace. I fiddled with that for a bit, but it seemed to be ok.
On reflection, I may have been going a little too fast, but it felt comfortable at the time.
This bit is 'flat' with the worst bit being a long drag up into Cold Kirby. I walked some of this and ate one of my homemade cherry flap jacks. In the village, one of my club mates Charlotte was waiting with her son and dog to cheer everyone on!!
Next was the out and back section through Kilburn Woods and to the White Horse. I saw Peter (who was already on the way back) and we hi-fived. First check point reached well within the cut offs, just a small matter of the 151 steps back onto the bank!

I'd been bursting for a wee for some time so called into the loo at Sutton Bank Visitor centre and felt much better!

Still mostly flat along the escarpment and very familiar terrain. I loped along, talking to people on and off as we passed. Still felt quite good.
Another long shallow drag up past White Stones and to the cairn by Black Hambleton. I ate my yoghurt raisins, but already felt like I was forcing them down, rather than being glad of the energy.
As we started the descent into Osmotherly, I was already feeling light headed and tired. I was worried as we hadn't done any real climbing yet and there was a long way to go. I told myself I must eat plenty of food at the Ossy check point.

Got into the hall well inside the cut off and ahead of my own schedule so I was happy with that. I had a lovely cup of tea first, then had a look in my drop bag. Hmm. I scoffed the coconut macaroon, but didn't really enjoy it. Stuck some other bits in my pack 'for later' and got rid of a couple of bits. I saw my club mate Mally lingering in the doorway, he'd come to cheer on another pal of his but it was great to see him and get a sweaty hug! He said he was off to the pub next...
I set off again, tried to eat my drop-bag pizza and nearly gagged on it. Dammit.

Lots of climbing to come now. First up Beacon Hill, I like Beacon Hill, no probs. Got chatting to a chap from Swaledale so that helped ease the miles a little. We parted in the woods before Scugdale. 
My pesky knee decided to make itself known already, the right one this time instead of the left, so that was a nuisance. But I figured just take it steady, no need to rush anything.

I got to Scugdale which was also the half way point, hurrah, I think. The CP was staffed by Lisrun and a couple of other chaps. I spotted another friend sat on the bench there, it didn't occur to me at the time, but it turns out he had to pull out due to injury. I took some sweets and began the climb up Live Plantation and onto Carlton Bank. It's long climb that just goes on and on. I started to get angry with the hill. I ran the flatter bits but it took a long time to get to the double trig at the far end, it was a relief in one way, but really it meant a long horrible stony descent on uneven steps. I got down without too much swearing and ran through Lord Stones ready to tackle the next big climb. Again, it went on forever but it's just a matter of one foot in front of the other.
With great relief, I slapped the summit seat and shuffled on along the tops. It was windy and cold up here and I pulled my hood around my head. The mist was rolling in too, but you can't get lost on here, just keep to the flag stones. I ran/walked along the top then hobbled down the next descent. A short flat bit, then an abrupt up and over of Cold Moor, not helped by my toes going into cramp on the down side! Then on to tackle the Wainstones.
I had to guide a couple of blokes through, then managed to run on. I think they over took me on the descent though.
The CP at Clay Bank seemed a good place to lean, so I did for a few moments to have a drink and some jelly-tots before pushing on up Clay Bank. 

Some ladies asked me of I knew where we were. I said we were approaching Round Hill which is the highest point on the North York Moors. After that, I said, apart from the bits that aren't, it's all downhill. Not sure that was the most helpful thing to say!!

There was a lot of walking of walking on this section. It's not really flat, but on tired legs not easy to run either.
All of a sudden, I felt hungry! I managed to eat a couple of chunks of potato and a small bit of cake before I went back to feeling slightly sick.
I reached Blowarth Crossing and clipped my race number.
I didn't realise how far it now was on this 'flat' boring track.
It was breezy and quite cold.
Running was so very hard, my knee hurt. Walking was slow and demoralising.
I still felt sick.
It gradually got dark. I eventually gave in and put my headtorch on, and imeadiately tripped over a rock! Didn't actually fall, but it reminded me to pay attention.
It started to rain. I failed to put my waterproof coat on, as the previous rain showers had passed within a few minutes so I assumed this would do the same.
I had toyed with the idea of getting to Kildale without needing my torch, but that clearly wasn't going to happen.
The long track was still going on. I wanted to have a cry, but nothing would come out!
Every time my watch beeped to announce a run/walk interval or it was time to eat, I told it to fuck off.
A little group of us gathered and that speeded me up a bit.
Stokesley and other towns were laid out before us, all lit up. It looked good, but I didn't care and I said so.
At last, we turned onto tarmac but the sign said 2 miles to Kildale. Still?? 2 pissing miles?? FFS.
The road was steep in places, and my knee was too sore to run on, so I ran the flatter bits while everyone else ran the down hills! I was thoroughly pissed off. 
Up on that track, while feeling queasy I was almost willing myself to be sick so I had a valid excuse to pull out.
Here now, the lights from the village hall looked warm and welcoming and I stumbled in.

For the first time during a race like this, I sat down.

My friend Lorna was marshalling here and she took over, getting me tea and a bowl of rice pudding and collecting my drop bag.

The tea, the rice, changing into a dry top and getting my proper coat on all helped. I rearranged my various parcels of food. Topped up my squash and electrolyte drink, made sure I got a hug from Flip then stepped back out into the dark.

My teeth were chattering with cold, but my spirits had been soothed and by the time I was half way up the next (big, steep) hill I was sweating again. And more importantly, almost happy.
The climb up to Captain Cooks although long wasn't too bad. I love the section through the birch forest on East Cote Moor and it was cool in the dark. The monument looked ace, if a little...erm...phallic silouhetted against the orange glow of the towns below.
It's a steep drop into Gribdale, but a sort of lolloping trot got me down without too much pain and into the CP now known as Party Central! Here were lots of lights and disco music, I even managed a little dance as I came through the gate!

The next objective was Roseberry Topping. RT is a challenge in the daylight and we were about to tackle it in the dark. First though, a mile a green track and from the moor we got the most amazing view of the little mini-mountain. The main path zig-zags it's way up the face and there was a string of headtorches all the way up. RT looked like a giant Christmas tree, it was quite a thing to behold.
No time for taking in the view, I pressed on. One foot in front of the other. This is an another out and back section and we said ''well done'' to eat pair of feet we passed. The climb is never as bad as you think and soon we'd checked in with the summit marshal and turned around. It's the descent which is the bad bit. The rock steps are steep, uneven and always greasy. Slipped a few times. Tired legs and a lack of energy weren't helping.
I figured it would take another two hours to get to the finish, but that was it, we were almost on the home straight. (I keep saying 'we' as little groups of runners come and go, but never really ran with anyone for long.)

The run walk continued for a while, but eventually ran out of running ability. The ground was on slippy paving slabs, too uneven to maintain any kind of pace so a very brisk walk was more comfortable than keep starting and stopping.
Glo-sticks swam into view to guide us up the steps and the last real climb up the side of Highcliffe Nab. There was a self clip up here, cruelly attached to a low bench so we each had to kneel down to reach it!
The long walk had given my legs a 'rest' and I managed to run on into Guisborough Woods. I had been a little worried about navigating through here in the dark, but Jon had very kindly put glo-sticks along the route and they were easy to spot.
Started to get a bit mardy again as the woods went on forever.
At last though, we got onto a horrible steep concrete road, but I knew this led down to the old railway line and then it was just one more mile from there to the finish.
The last self clip was easier to reach and with my number clipped, I set off down the railway line.
I swore at my watch bleeping.
I swore at my sore knee.
I swore at the flat track, although really I couldn't have taken much more climbing!

Gradually down that line, a couple of ladies I'd run with on and off caught me up and we got to the steps leading onto the road to Guisborough. We wobbled down the steps and actually ran down the street and up into entrance of the Sea Cadets where Shirley was waiting to check our numbers!

We'd done it! Bloody done it.

Peter and Jen were waiting for me. Peter had had a great run and was still bouncing round, high on Jelly Babies and coke.
I had some tea and very slowly got changed.

I had mixed feelings. I was over joyed to have finished and I beat last years time. Not by as much as I wanted though and my overall performance was a little lacking I felt.
Physically, I felt (relatively speaking) ok. The long runs and weights have definitely helped and I was in a much better state than last year when I finished. But mentally, I had fallen apart up on the moor. I know I'd had bad patches last year, but they didn't seem to have lasted so long.
I have to admit, it's dented my confidence a little, which is disapointing after my last few long training runs have been so successful. 
I will just put it down to experience, I mean, I still finished well within the time allowed and I have no real injuries (indeed I walked into town on Sunday and managed to continue my run streak, just).
I think I had psyched myself out a little, having intimate local knowledge of an area doesn't always help!!

So, bit of resting time then consolidate my last few weeks of training before the big one. It will be here soon and that blog will be twice as long!!

Ben Campbell Recce = mud!

Just three of us in the woods on Thursday night, Gavin, Becky and myself. It was a fast one! Second fastest time since I got my watch last summer. Gavin reckons we can do it sub-50 once it dries out and we can run in the light again... I'm not convinced!! The fastest I've ever done it is 51:xx (according to somebody else's watch) and I nearly died then.

Friday and Saturday we just streak saver mile shuffles in the dark.

On Sunday a group of Harriers and some of JDW's other clients did a social recce of the Ben Campbell 10k route through Kilburn Woods. It's even hillier than our normal Thursday route. It was drizzling and a bit misty at the start.
I was amazed at how many people had turned out in their road shoes!!
The route is hard to describe really, especially if you don't know Kilburn Woods, but it starts at the White Horse car park and goes downhill through lots of mud! Then up the Angle Path, quite pleased as I ran all the way up that. Along the top track and down the Zig-Zag Hill, lovely fast downhill. I was keeping up with JDW, Becky, Gavin and Laura B at this point. Along the main track, then left at the main junction and sharp right up the muddy bank, avoiding the fallen tree. Had to walk up this climb, it gets very awkward under foot, sloppy mud. The climb takes us over the shoulder of Hood Hill, but not to the summit, and we go down the Unicorn, very muddy at the bottom some people going in up to their knees!!! Regroup at Osgodby Gate, bank into the woods and up the other Hood Hill path, again just the shoulder avoiding the summit. (The summit is a scheduled monument or something so I guess the race was allowed so long as it didn't go over the top.) The run down the other side is what I think the hardest descent as it is slick rather than deep mud and very steep. Safely down that, back on the main track for a long uphill all the way back to the finish. (That bit doesn't have a name, will have to think of something...)
I managed to stay with Gavin and almost at the front for the whole run, with a little bit of downhill mincing thrown in for good measure!! The long uphill finish nearly killed me and I felt a bit sick!
Soon recovered though and headed home as we were taking SD ice-skating in the afternoon!

An alleged 'easy' week in Feb

It's supposed to be a cut back week, dammit!!

After Sunday's adventure, I didn't feel the need to do much running, but I still have a streak to maintain. So, I did a mile round the industrial estate where JDW is based which also doubled up as a warm up. It was very icy in places, so I had to be careful.

Into the PT session, again looking at engaging the core and glutes. We did some different things from last week but also had a practice at the Romanian Dead lift form as that feels weird.
The funniest bit was we had a Boson board (one of those wobble board things) and standing on one leg, threw a ball backwards and forwards. Needless to say I was rubbish at that, I have no balance what so ever!

Exercise done for Monday.

Then comes Tuesday...

Managed to organise Helen and Gavin for an earlyish run in Kilburn Woods. There was some snow around, but not as much ice as we feared. We clocked up 7.2 miles with lots of hills!! We went all the way up to the bank and all the way back down to the Horse Gate. 
Coming along the Horse Gate path, I was already running reasonably hard (relatively speaking) and was aware of Gavin right on my heels, I went to let him past but somehow it turned into a bit of a race! 
''Don't stop til the newt pond!'' he says through gritted teeth, I just continue wheezing in reply.
By heck, I burned in places I haven't burned for a while!
This did result in me taking top spot for the associated Strava segment, so thats good.
We had to trot back down to find Helen who didn't know which way we'd gone, oops.*
Then up and over Hood Hill, we took that a little more sensibly but enjoyed the long muddy descent on the other side.
Stretching out in the car park I found my trainers have split! Oh no, only got them for Christmas, barely done 70 miles in them. Have to get that sorted. (I hate sorting that sort of thing.)

Got home and had time for a quick drink and snack and a change of clothes then back down to town for another PT session! Two in one week! I can add John to the long list of people trying to kill me off...

Today we did some (quite light) weights. Including wide-grip lat pull downs and adding (small) dumbells to exercises such as reverse lunges, squats and oblique stretches. 
It was hard (as I am as weak as a new born lamb...) but I enjoyed it.
My arms wouldn't work afterwards though!!

John is very good on form, keen for me to get it spot on each time, no compromise. He is full of useful information and knowledge. The only down side is that once my ultra is done, the training will be too and I can't afford to pay for a personal trainer :( 
Still, I keep writing down what we are doing so I can still do a lot of it myself at home.
(Mind you, if I did all the various exercises and routines I had written down, I wouldn't need a personal trainer in the first place... lol)

*Don't worry, Helen speaks her mind and if she had been annoyed with us, she would have said!! It's interesting on a run like that she was plodding along at the back, but I am yet to beat her on an actual race!

Running up a blizzard! (February)

Long run time (on Sunday, yesterday) and i had no one to go with, shock horror!

My plan said 25 miles. I used the route building doodah on here and joined some of my not quite so long routes together to come up with a suitable route. It looked hard, even on paper.

I haven't run on my own for quite some time. Well, I run down to Club, or to 'collect' friends in town but I haven't done any major solo running. I don't know why? When I was training for my first marathon or two, I thought nothing of having OH drop me off in the middle of no-where and I'd run 3-4 hours by myself, no probs. I can't even pin point when that changed and suddenly, going out by myself became A Big Thing.

I had 2 choices basically, man-up or spend the day kicking myself and feeling generally miserable.

I had my breakfast and put on all my warm clothes. As I was getting ready to set off, I saw it was snowing... I put on another layer and put a better hat into my pack.
The hardest step is the one out of the door, right?

I figured if the snow got bad, I'd come home. OH was at work and all my various buds were either on holiday or busy so I had no back up if anything went amiss. 
I'll just get to Kilburn, I told myself and work it out from there.

Thankfully, about 1.5 miles later it had stopped and the sun came out and I was too hot.
I was using Gavin's advice of 'one objective at a time'. First objective, far end of Green Lane. Green Lane is very dull and goes on forever, wet and muddy once you get past the last farmhouse. Bit it was nice and quiet and the sunshine was lovely.
Into the little village (hamlet?) of Bagby and down past the playground and into muddy fields. Next objective Thirkleby, and I'd have something to eat there. The route passes a caravan site, people must live there. And of course I ran straight into the permanent wet patch in the field. Always.
I ate my first cereal bar in Thirkleby. A little footpath along a beck joins little Thirkleby and Great Thirkleby together, although I am not sure which is which!! A man voiced his surprise at someone running through the village!
Along a lane past some holiday cottages and into more mud, only for a short stretch then back on to good track again. I passed some walkers who I assumed were staying at said cottage. 
Past the small stud, then I had to look out for the path off up the hill, it's been a while since I've been this way and I didn't want to miss it! 
Spotted it no probs and ran along the field edge. I came through a gate and in the next field were a pair of deer grazing on the young bean plants. I stood to watch them a while before pressing on.
I couldn't remember much about this part, but the path was obvious and I didn't need to get my map out. The sky was clouding over a bit now.
I did remember the next bit, a long muddy slog uphill along a disused lane. I like mud, but this was the thick, wet, lose your trainers kind of mud. I squelched my way up, taking advantage of the chance to have a drink and few sweets.
The lane pops out into the village of Kilburn. I ran down the main street, past the pub where we go on a Thursday and on, out of the village. The road is quite hilly and was busy with cars, I was very glad I had my hi-vis jacket on!
Oh, it also snowed at this point, but only a bit.
Along the road and into Kilburn Woods. It was busy with walkers and dogs and families in the wood! It looked great now the sunshine was back out! I ate a bit of pork pie (experiment... hmm not convinced) then took the Horse Gate track away from the crowds.
On the far gate, I stopped for 5 minutes to stretch everything out and deal with a shoelace malfunction!
More road, I skirted the edge of Oldstead and got to the bit of the route I was dreading, the climb up Oldstead Bank, otherwise known as the Silver Fox. One of our toughest local climbs, its a full mile in length, it's muddy and awkward underfoot and rises 600ft in one go. I had no intention of even trying to run up it and instead ambled along eating yoghurt raisins and sweets and talking to the Exmoor ponies who live here semi-wild. 
A hiker warned me about a fallen tree further up, but as he'd said I got round it easily and continued climbing.
That pretty much wiped me out.
I'd been needing a pee for some time, but it was a flat mile to the visitor centre on Sutton Bank so I shuffled on, through the crowds. It was bloody cold up here!

It bugs me here, the path is good and flat I even see people with buggies and wheel chairs so it is plenty wide enough, so why do I still have to run on the grass when I pass people walking in pairs?? Why can't they just drop into single file for 2 seconds?
If we run in a group, we drop into single file to pass walkers and other 'path users'. grr, ignorant twats. The etiquette is used else where, if I pass couples they drop in to single file and we usually exchange greetings etc. Not up on Sutton Bank, bloody townies.


I made use of the facilities at the visitor centre and if I'd had some money, I may have purchased a nice cup of tea. But I hadn't, so I didn't and I think that was maybe a good thing as in the few minutes I spent in the loo, I'd already started to get cold so having a cuppa would have resulted in me phoning a friend...

It had been snowing for a little while now, and on the top of the bank the wind was whipping it along horizontally, mostly into my face. Running was hard work, and as you leave the immeadiate visitor centre environs, the path gets muddy and more rugged. The people also go back to being friendly. 
I ate a chocolate bar and put on my hat as well as my hood.
The snow looked more set in, so I decided to drop off the bank a little early and slithered my way down the Boltby turn to town pasture. Above Boltby, I could turn left or right. My thigh muscles were cramping with cold and it was still snowing so I turned left, towards home.
Home still being 4 miles distant of course!

The last four miles were so hard. All on metalled road, and by now in my trail shoes, my feet were starting to ache a bit. I walked over the Mount, and had more fluid and sweets. The cows were inside (lucky buggers) so I didn't get chased today! Then its down the hill, past the pub and a long jog home. My objctives were getting closer together, I managed to pick out 5 in the last mile!! But they got me home, and I was still running, albeit slowly.

Straight in to light the fire which I had laid before going out (central heating?? Whats that?) and kettle on. I avoided the usual shakes and shiver and was soon sat in front of the fire with a pint of tea and pot of ricepudding.

Overall, despite the fact I was very slow, I had a consistent pace. But more importantly, I'd kicked my own butt and got out there and did it!! Happy with that.

Lifting Dead Romanians...

Hmm, maybe I've got that wrong?

Anyway, today was my first ever PT session with JDW. I was excited but also quite nervous as I had no idea what to expect.
I jogged down to his studio gym place, sounds posh but it's really just a unit on the industrial estate! Only 13 mins jog away so that is handy.

Seeing as I was already warmed up, we got straight on with it. He checked out my posture and balance through basic moves, squat and lunges. I am a big wobbly and lack strength in my bum, apparently. So we worked on bridges and stretches for the hamstrings and glutes.
Then we had a go at the Romanian dead lifts, but to my embarrasment the empty bar was too heavy!! I could lift it, but I couldn't do it with proper form as my shoulders were hunching. So we tried various kettlebells and found the 12kg one to be enough of a challenge with out compromising form.
Then I did some seated rows, top weight being 60lbs. Back definition, here we come!!

The idea is, he wants to help me increase my performance as an ultra runner by improving my flexibility and strength. I have never lifted weights before (besides the odd kettlebell added to a squat) so this is new to me.

It was odd working one-on-one and you have to forget about being self concious at all, especially while walking around like a constipated crab with a rubber band round your knees...
He was very focused on form and posture and doing everything nice and slow which makes a change from club where core sessions tend to be 'how many reps can you bang out in 30 seconds'

I ran home again after and was 4 seconds faster despite it being uphill on the way home, improvement already?!

As I am getting this training for free, I feel I should include a link to John's website... so here it is- Link (roll over me to see where I go)

The Full Monty, plus a bit more...

Sore and tired, that's what. ;-) you dirty buggers.

The Full Monty is one of our local routes. I did it for the first time last month, I can't say I fell in love with it.
It's 18.5 miles, up and down hills, across the moor, over little footbridges, through farmyards, along the river and mostly very, very muddy indeed. Some of the mud is the fun kind, some of it is the ankle breaking cow poached kind, some of it you can barely stand up on!
Most importantly, it is hard.
So hard, that apart from a small band of nutters, most people only do it the once and that is enough. Only 2 other women from club have done it besides me and they are both proper hardcore.

So, when I asked Gavin if he was on for a 20 mile run this weekend, I correctly predicted he'd say we'll do the Monty and add a bit by starting from Sutton Bank. yay.
Gavin has decided he wants to do the Monty at least once a month this year, that's his challenge. I told him he could count me out of that one!!

This morning, pre-dawn I found myself shivering in the carpark at Sutton Bank, wondering if I should have worn my thermal tights after all. As we set off down the road to join the Cleveland Way, a barn owl flew past, so that was nice.
The added bit follows the Cleveland Way towards Cold Kirby, passing by one of the many racing yards up on the Bank. Then we leave the Way and pass through a farmyard and cross several muddy fields before reaching Murton.
This is 4-ish miles in now and the sun rise over Ryedale looked good, the forecast for the day was pants but for now it was dry and still (but bloody cold!)
Murton is notable due to the steep drop through the woods. It is stupid steep and I am rubbish at descending! I managed to mince my way down without falling and Gavin was waiting at the bottom. Straight away you have to do a climb, almost as steep to get back out again. We walked.
After this, the route crosses Peak Scar Road then drops steeply down again across rolling farmland. This is followed by a long drag up a good track, which becomes a muddy wet track which takes you onto the moor between Sneck Yate and Arden. This drag, and so many others on the Monty is one of those annoying shallow climbs where you feel guilty for walking, but running just saps your legs.
Oh, I forgot the bit where we passed the bryr and ran through cow shit that was several inches deeper than my trainers...

On the moor now, and we follow grass paths which swing around to meet the Kepwick-Arden road which isn't really suitable for your family Vauxhall then turn off that onto even narrower paths between the grouse butts and eventually drop into the Bonny Valley. It's another steep muddy descent, but the path along the beck in the bottom is great fun! It's narrow and overgrown and you feel like you're running really fast due to being enclosed. Guaranteed to get wet feet in here, wash some of the cow muck off...

Another climb and we had a bite to eat, Haribo and dried fruit for me.
Across the muddy rolling farmland surrounding Arden Hall. This is the bit I am not so sure about and have to keep checking with Gavin for directions. We cross the river several times and various bridges then have a stiff muddy climb, at the top of which I nearly went the wrong way! Eventually we come to a good farm track which leads us to the road above Hawnby. Hawnby is a nice little village with a very nice pub and the OH and I often go walking from here.
The far side of Hawnby, we join the river for a short distance and we have another snack break. Cereal bar this time and it lies heavy on my stomach for quite a while.
This is where we get to the fields poached by cows and after struggling for a while we have to give up and walk before one of us breaks an ankle.
A short stretch of tarmac takes us up another hill and another track which turns into muddy footpath as it cuts down again through trees to meet a bridle path passing through Tylas Farm and along to the River Rye. First the route runs along a board walk on the river bank. Thankfully they have put gripper strips on the boards otherwise it would be lethal in the wet! Then the path becomes grass again as the river sweeps away. Here the mud is just silly. Not very deep, just a slick film really, but enough that you can't get a grip and slip and slide all over the place! Both of us nearly fell a few times. After this comes a stretch of puddles and the feet get another dunking!
The path turns uphill and is much drier and easier to run on, although we chose to walk up the hill so we could eat a few more sweets. The downhill bit is great, although a little muddy at the bottom and I hit the gate at full tilt as I couldn't break in time!

Here we came across a bunch of guinea fowl, second lot we'd seen on the run. They're funny looking things, but as I remarked to Gavin, they do taste good. :-) 

Only another 6 miles to go... Starting to feel really quite tired now. It might only be 6 miles, but it is all uphill and again that long shallow dragging kind of uphill. The wind was getting up a little and it threatened to rain.

A short road section took us back onto the Cleveland Way at Noodle Hill and onto a good track. We jogged along to the stepping stones and entered Flassen Dale, another regular walking spot for me and OH. Another runner came past us, she looked like an ultra runner and was wearing those weird toe-shoes. She ran very easily along the track, we kept pace with her, but never caught her up!
There is one little bit of climbing where it is steep enough to warrant a guilt free walk, and I quite enjoyed the break! Now though came a long pull back to Cold Kirby and the wind had become really strong in the last 10 minutes. We continued up the lane, having little walk breaks along the way as we were both tired. After an eternity, we reached Cold Kirby, but we still had 2 miles left to get back to Sutton Bank. The wind brought horizontal rain with it now and of course we turned to face it. I was struggling a bit now, starting to feel a bit sick and a little dizzy. I had to admit this to Gavin (just in case it all went horribly wrong all of a sudden!) he commented on the fact I hadn't really eaten much during the run, which was true. He let me dictate the pace and I ran as much as I could then had a little walk break before running again and so on. Thankfully, it wasn't much further and I knew the more I ran, the sooner it would be over!!

Hurrah! Back at the car!! The rain had stopped but the wind whipped across the exposed carpark as I changed my damp shirt. Stomach still churning, I had a good drink (been thirsty all run, drank about 750ml) and opened the packet of crisps I had brought with me. I struggled to eat them initially, but they seemed to work to calm my tummy down, coupled with a glass of hot, salted orange juice when I got home and the sickness gradually turned to hunger. Despite being perfectly fine during the run, when I got home I was literally shaking with cold. I changed into warm dry clothes and had a lounge in front of the fire before getting in the shower and having some much needed food!!

Overall, it was a hard run but I enjoyed it more than last time I did it. I ran well and felt fine until about 16miles, then got tired, but only struggled the last 4. I have to remember though, that I have done a lot of miles recently and when race day comes, I will have tapered and be rested. All this suffering will then pay off!

The First Week of Feb, horrid weather.

After a fairly heavy week of training, last Sunday I only needed to do 5 miles to complete my miles for the week.
So, Hilary and I went up to Sutton Bank to do just that! We had no plan in mind and decided to run along the top until my watch bleeped (set for 2 mile bleeps, for eating on long run purposes!) and then see what we felt like.
I'm not gonna lie, those first two miles were so hard! I actually checked my watch at one point, in case it had bleeped and I'd missed it... nope, just 1.6 miles done.
At last though, it did bleep and we knew the next turn off took us towards Boltby. We could work our way back without having to drop too far down the bank and therefore avoiding a big climb up again. 
They've drained some of the path so it wasn't ankle deep slop like it normally is, that was disappointing. :-) 
We ran on a good track along the bottom of the woods. Deeper into the wood, the track just peters out, then turns sharply uphill! It was very muddy and wet and we were slipping all over the place even with our fell shoes on! Much more fun! At one point I ran into a bit so deep I nearly fell over.
We squidged and squelched our way through the trees, enjoying the muck far too much, then popped out onto the main Thirlby Bank path.
Time to climb. Never yet run up this hill. Probably never will!
Then it was an easy jaunt back to the visitor centre. Legs were warmed up and working now, almost seemed a shame to stop but we both had commitments elsewhere.

The high winds (and getting up too late) put pay to our planned hike on Monday. Instead we went to Kilburn Woods (the scene of Thursday night head torch runs) where it is relatively sheltered. It is amazing how much more we saw while walking in the daylight! Lots of 'interesting' piles of stones all covered in lush green mosses, twisted trees and a little lake/pool I've never seen before despite having been here a million times.
Later in the evening, I called into the Club training session to collect membership forms. I also did a 2 mile loop of town and then got Chinese food for tea!

Tuesday was busy, took the car to the garage for its MOT, then battled the wind home. Later, walked back again to collect the car (via Tesco). Even later still, I pulled on my trainers and ran into town for the third time to join the Harriers Tuesday group, getting 9 miles done there.

Wednesday and back to work, booo.
Down to Club in the evening. The usual torture master was away in that London so we had JDW instead and we worked on running posture. Then outside for intervals in the dark.
Very tired on the run/walk home.

Thursday, I was a little worried that Brett hadn't spoken to me since our little trip to Osmotherly (see previous blog) but today I got a text announcing it was his birthday and he was going for a run in the woods. Funnily enough, so were we!! Sonja and her hubby joined us for a change which slowed the pace right down but that was actually quite nice as my legs were sore from last nights club sesh. Lunges just seem to kill me!
Seeing as it was Brett's birthday we went to the pub for a swift half before heading home.

Friday and today I have just done a mile to maintain my streak. Thankfully my legs have come back to me as I am off for a 20 miler tomorrow with Gavin. I feel tired already...

Osmotherly Hill Loops (late January)

Due to having accrued a little overtime, I got an extra day off this week! So I thought the best thing to do was to go for a long run.

I texted a few people, but only Brett was available. I picked him up and we went to Osmotherly. It was cold, wet and windy. As organised as ever, Brett had his shorts on and had forgotten his waterproofs...

Thankfully the rain stopped by the time we got going and about a mile later I was for too hot with my coat on!
In the first two miles, we'd stopped three times, once for me to strip off, then each time one of us had to pee.

Finally vaguely organised we were able to run on! I love the stretch across Scarth Nick Moor. 
The first loop takes us clock wise up over Beacon Hill, across Scarth Nick Moor, then up the Sheep Wash and along the top track above the reservoir. Part way along the top track, we turned downhill, enjoying the easy descent through trees to meet the dam on Cod Beck reservoir. We did a lap of the res, meeting lots of dog walkers and their dogs along the way. We both saw fit to comment on why they weren't at work... ;-) 
Brett also pointed out were running in circles as this point.

I shared my Haribo and yoghurt raisins, 'cos I'm good like that, as we ran along the road back to the village. We waved at the car and carried on out of the other end of the village. An old man told us we should have set off sooner!! 
We picked up the Cleveland Way for a short distance, heading into Oakdale, but turned off at the farmhouse to follow the route of the Hardmoors Ossy 10km. Long uphill drag, tried to run it, didn't have the legs! Neither did Brett. We reached the road at Chequers and rejoined the reservoir top track again. We now headed down the Sheep Wash, I have yet to find the good line up or down this rocky little climb/descent. More visits required.
Back along the road and up onto Scarth Nick Moor once again. It is deceptively uphill and there were 'civilians' about so we had to run the whole thing!! That was tough.
At last on the top, a muddy stretch and had to mind the branches someone had dragged across the path since we'd passed earlier, then into my favourite descent, the downside of Beacon Hill! Love it.
Last couple of fields and then the track which becomes tarmac and runs back into the village.

We'd been looking forward to a nice cup of tea at the cafe, but both coffee shops were shut!! Disaster! We contemplated a beer as the pub was open, but I had to drive and Brett had work to finish, so we decided to come home.

First time I have run with just Brett, normally there's somebody else with us, usually Gavin. Brett is quite a good runner, but he seemed quite happy to shuffle along and walk the hills etc. We talked utter crap the whole time! Normally Gav speeds up when he's had enough of listening to us rabbit on about nothing.
Ha! When we got back, we found Brett's wife had gone into town and so he was locked out!! I let him sit in the car til his wife returned.

I was quite pleased to see we'd averaged around 11 min/miles 'cos we had really shuffled round. I'm also pleased the next day that I am not sore at all, just a little tired from the accumulated mileage - 160 miles this month.